This week in PR (2 November)

About the author

Richard Bailey Hon FCIPR is editor of PR Academy's PR Place Insights. He teaches and assesses undergraduate, postgraduate and professional students.

Morning in Manchester @allthingsIC
Morning in Manchester @allthingsIC

News in brief

  • Channel 4 has chosen Leeds for its new national headquarters, with smaller creative hubs to be housed in Bristol and Glasgow. Though commercially-funded, Channel 4 is a publicly-owned public service broadcaster.
  • Here’s a top 50 ranking of PR agencies in the north of England, headed by Manchester-based Citypress. Most are independent firms, and most are in Manchester or Leeds.
  • Sarah Stimson’s next venture after Taylor Bennett Foundation is Ladder Talent, offering training, e-learning, speaking, coaching, and employee events for the creative industries.
  • The Public Affairs Board is the new voice for public affairs and lobbying, following the vote to merge APPC with PRCA.
  • Ogilvy: We already knew about the restructuring. The latest move has attracted the most attention: the offer of voluntary redundancy to all UK members of staff. (Holmes Report).


  • Fake news isn’t new’. Read this and other essays in the USC Annenberg Relevance Report 2018.
  • Dr Johanna Fawkes is returning to Leeds as visiting Research Fellow at Leeds Beckett University (on a three year appointment to October 2021).
  • The University of Sheffield is recruiting for a Senior Lecturer in Public Relations and Strategic Communications. It’s within the Department of Journalism Studies, so will there be more snarky articles about public relations ‘winning’ in Press Gazette, I wonder?

Insights and opinions: Pick of the posts

These are the editor’s pick of posts about public relations this week (UK focused, but with a global outlook). Recommendations are welcome to [email protected] or @pr_place

Consulting, skills and careers

  • Lauren Lovett: The ultimate guide to writing case studies that drive leads (no date)
    ‘Your prospects don’t want a rejigged press release or a list of facts – they want a story that they can relate to. This means finding the unique heart of your customer’s story. Don’t just write the story you want to hear. Write the story they tell.’
  • Laura Sutherland: Ten years of running my own business and ALL the learnings (1 November)
    ‘We’re very good at shouting about our successes and rightly so, but where people can really learn from others is when we talk about our mistakes and what we learned from them.’
  • Amanda Coleman: Reflecting on blogtober (31 October)
    ‘My blogs are honest and from the heart and I hope that comes across. I write about what affects me or those around me and I do it with an openness.’
  • Chris Lee: 20 years, 20 lessons from a career in comms (no date)
    ‘I’ve learned way more than 20 things but there are some topics I’m happier discussing offline, but here’s a shortlist of observations.’
  • Scott Guthrie: RESET: How to Restart Your Life and Get F.U. Money – a book review (26 October)
    ‘For me the financial independence section was the most illuminating. Sawyer explains F.U. (fuck you money) and FI (financial independence) are like the yang and yin of FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early).’

Ethics and professionalism

Politics and public affairs

  • Stuart Thomson: What to say to a politician? (30 October)
    ‘It might easier to think in terms of having an ‘elevator pitch’ prepared for the chance encounter with a politician.  Certainly anyone in your organisation likely to come into contact with a political audience should be briefed on the agreed wording.’

Public and third sectors

  • Dan Slee: RED LETTER: Why Poppy Day is a good day to learn how to bust a myth (1 November)
    ‘The things that Stuart [Bruce] suggests people do to rebut lies the Royal British Legion does. They create shareable content. They get in first. They let others speak for them through the shareable content. But what was most challenging was the idea that you really shouldn’t repeat the lie in the rebuttal.’
  • Emma Howard: Is this open rate good? Email statistics the public sector needs to know (29 October)
    ‘Even when you have the email metrics at your disposal, what are you to do with them? Is a 20 per cent open rate “good” or “bad”? If on average your subscribers are opting to receive two different email updates from your organisation (two subscriptions-per-subscriber), is this an indication you have an engaged well-served audience?’
  • Ashley Wilcox: Fireworks and a whale: an average Friday in local government comms (29 October)
    ‘#KeepBennySafe was the top story in our weekly staff email, released to the media at the same time (our usual contacts plus a long list of media that had already covered Benny’s arrival) and I added some posts to the council’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.’


Campaigns and creativity

  • Joe Deeks: Stuck in the middle (31 October)
    ‘By forcing things through a process, whatever process that may be, we will end up with something better by the end. In our industry, chaos can have a framework.’
  • Olivia Dick: Think Free: A Creative Q&A with Hans Tranberg (26 October)
    ‘I’m all about Ketchum’s RISC process, which is rooted in the belief that you need research, insights and a smart strategy to develop good creative that resonates with people.’

Measurement and evaluation

  • Jim Macnamara: New insights into evaluation statis – food for thought (29 October)
    ‘A provocative and easily misunderstood concept presented at the ICA conference is the theory of functional stupidity. Not even the senior academics in the room had heard of this one. Functional stupidity refers to illogical outcomes at a function level – not individual stupidity.’

Brands and influence

Crisis and reputation

Technology and AI

  • David Brain: Marketing Automation and the Agency Model (26 October)
    ‘My last word on marketing automation to agencies is ‘lose the snobbery’. This stuff is already huge and is (or will very soon) be adopted by your clients. Adapt and embrace it.’

Internal communication

  • Ben Capper: The art of internal comms (1 November)
    ‘Internal comms in particular seems to finally be getting the recognition and being given the importance that it deserves, after many years as the poorer, less attractive sibling of external comms.’
  • Ann Pilkington: Change communication and the quest for positivity (31 October)
    ‘Every project wants stakeholders to view what they are doing positively. However, this isn’t always realistic and shouldn’t be the only focus.’
  • Advita Patel: How to get remote workers engaged with your comms! (31 October)
    ‘A remote worker is anyone who does not have regular access to company devices, they don’t work in a traditional 9-5 role and are not office based.’
  • Jenni Kampf: Is it better to apologise than ask permission? (30 October)
    ‘Approval processes, design by committee, and everyone being a communications expert can wear down even the most enthusiastic, creative, and joyful internal communications professional. It can also result in compromised creativity, and lessened impact.‘
  • Alex Bourgeois: Lessons From Amazon: Why Employee Advocacy Needs Authenticity (29 October)
    ‘Advocacy from your employees has to be earned. Whether it be online or offline, if you want your staff to share happy messages about you, start off by being your employees’ best advocate, and then maybe, just maybe, they will return the favour.’
  • Katie Marlow: What is a Hackathon and how can we use it in internal communication? (28 October)
    ‘A group of people from designers to subject matter experts get together to find a quick and effective solution to a problem, to create a minimum viable product.’

Media and digital

  • Kelly Atkin: Will Twitter replace the ♡? (1 November)
    ‘The Twitter like replaced the star-shape ‘favourite’ in 2015 and provides a quick way of acknowledging a post or keeping track of content you want to come back to.’
  • Ellen Carroll: Pitch Craft Guide to Media Pitching: Secure Press Coverage (31 October)
    ‘Many businesses I talk to are scared to pitch their story for fear of rejection. And even if you work in PR and comms, you know that pitching is a craft that takes skill especially when you take into consideration the volume of emails that journalists receive daily.’
  • Stephen Davies: Deepfake video is the evolution of fake news and is equally as dangerous (31 October)
    ‘It seems that ‘The Great Fake News Era’ of 2015-18 is coming to a slow and drawn-out end as people become savvier on what they share and as the social media giants continue to bow to pressure from governments around the world.’
  • Paul Sutton with Rich Leigh: How digital is changing when and where we work [podcast] (31 October)
    ‘In today’s show Rich and I explore whether technology could make a four day work week a reality in the very near future.’
  • Maja Pawinska Sims: Study: PR’s Ownership Of Digital Is Up, But Measurement Confidence Is Down (31 October)
    ‘The sixth annual PRCA Digital PR and Communications Report shows PR ownership of digital and social media is up by 12% but confidence in measuring ROI has dropped.’

#prstudent #bestPRblogs

Editor’s note: This community is more active than anticipated. This is very welcome – except that it means having to be more selective than I would have expected at this stage of the academic year. So it’s limited to one post per student (sorry Orlagh and Yana) – and to 12 posts in total. I’ve then favoured what I deem to be better-written and more interesting and/or useful posts. It’s tough to choose, but I’m proud to present this selection to the world!

  • Heiða Ingimarsdóttir (Leeds): You are enough! (2 November)
    ‘Even though I know I am doing well, even though I know I am at a great place in my life, even though I know I am a good mum, even though I know I am a loving fiancée, even though I know I am a friend to my friends and family I still feel like I have something to prove. Sometimes I feel like no matter how hard I try “I will never be enough”.’
  • Lucy Hayball (Bournemouth): Back to student life – has placement helped? (1 November)
    ‘Whilst the transition from a student to an employee was a big one, I’d never really considered that the transition the other way would be that difficult.’
  • Rachel Clarke (Leeds Beckett): Should the UK go vegan? Let’s take a look abroad (1 November)
    ‘There is no question that vegetables are an essential element of a human diet, however there seems to be a lot of room for debate around how much or little we need to include animal products.’
  • Yana Miladinova (Bourmemouth): 10 Questions With Jo O’Connell (1 November)
    ‘Get work published – whether that’s in a uni magazine, in print, creating videos, running your own blog site, your social media following or writing guest posts. As an employer I want tangible evidence that you’re better than everyone else.’
  • Ruth Leonard (Ulster): Fears of Final Year (1 November)
    ‘After doing my A-Levels and getting accepted into Ulster University, I had the next four years planned out. I don’t have a plan for the next four.’
  • Lauren Thomas (South Wales): Stand Up To Cancer (and Channel 4) (31 October)
    ‘The tweets to Piers Morgan were absolutely hysterical so I’ve included a few of my favourites (Sorry not sorry Piers).’
  • Lottie Wiltshire (South Wales): This is Halloween, everybody make a scene! (31 October)
    ‘Happy Halloween! What better way to celebrate than to took a look at two of the most terrifying PR crises of 2018 (so far).’
  • Vincent Postmus (Leeds Beckett): Internal Communication in a Multicultural Workplace (30 October)
    ‘In this short article I will be looking at how the two fields of culture and internal communication relate.’
  • Molly Hare (Leeds Beckett): Seven ways to get a job in PR, even with no experience (27 October)
    ‘Nobody is born with experience in public relations! Reading the latest news, being efficient in the art of self-promotion and a CV overflowing with creativity are just some of the things that can help you get your big chance.’
  • Elian Owen (South Wales): Ryanair: They just don’t learn (28 October)
    ‘It’s not just basic PR knowledge but common sense that when in the wrong you have to react fast and it always helps to be honest and to take responsibility.’
  • Orlagh Shanks: A Recap of the #AskOrlagh Twitter Chat (29 October)
    ‘At one point I was shaking, trying to keep up with all of the questions, trying to type as quickly as I could with as little spelling mistakes as possible, all while not missing any tweets.’
  • Alannah Stephens (Ulster): Bordering on Insanity…  (29 October)
    ‘As a young girl living on the border between the North and South of Ireland, I dread the thought of potentially having to bring my passport along just to do a spot of shopping in Penney’s.’